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CALL FOR EQUALITY; I can do that! In association with Marseytravel.

Byline: BY TOM DOWLING

IMPROVING life chances of people with mental health conditions should be at the heart of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights' work says an advisory group.

While accepting there have been some major breakthroughs for people with mental health conditions since the Disability Discrimination Act came into force, the Mental Health Action Group says these successes needed to be built on to end deep-rooted disadvantage.

Unemployment among people with mental health conditions is 80%, they are more likely to suffer housing problems or be homeless and more likely to die young from preventable illnesses, its report says.

A Disability Rights Commission investigation found that despite high levels of ill health, over 50 % of people with mental health conditions said they experienced difficulties when trying to see their GP.

Key barriers include the attitudes of reception staff, inflexible appointment systems and inaccessible information, including the side effects of psychiatric medication.

A small number said they were not registered or had been struck off a GP list, deemed too demanding.

Abina Parshad Griffin, of MHAG, said: "Racism and discrimination affect mental health; and then discrimination on mental health grounds and poverty often follow, in a vicious cycle. We welcome the new CEHR. It could break the cycle by addressing mental health and equality across all programmes."

MHAG's nine-point priority plan include promoting equality and ensuring people using mental health services should not be barred from jury service or becoming an MP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2007
Words:245
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